I recently had an opportunity to speak to a group of entrepreneurs in Thailand. There were so many topics I could share, but I decided to go with, “Leadership Lessons for Life.” I believe these simple principles make a huge difference in our day-to-day activities.
It is always my goal to not only help with the challenges the entrepreneurs face within their companies, but to also assist them on a personal level. In my book, The Power of Layered Leadership, my thesis is “when you get the person right, everything begins to work.”
A way I keep myself “right” is to continually read. Typically several books per month. I search for guidance in leadership, marketing, and management. On occasion, I enjoy reading the Old Testament, especially the stories of leadership.
One story in particular is found in the first nine verses of the Book of Joshua. To set this up, you must understand the state of the children of Israel. Their esteemed leader, Moses, has just died. They are in total fear as to what to do and whom to follow. In the midst of this, God reaches down to Joshua saying, “Joshua, Moses is dead, stand up and lead.” But God doesn’t leave Joshua to fend for himself. He gives Joshua a few points to remember as he takes over this new leadership role.
Here are a few leadership lessons to learn from this story:
1. Move On. I have a new GPS on my phone. It is so cool. It not only gives you directions for your destination but it also tells you what you can expect along the way: slow traffic, debris on the road, police, etc. However, before it works, it has to know where you are starting from. So many people do not want to accept where they are; they live in denial. Listen, you may have just gone through a divorce, financial collapse, or a relationship challenge. Accept where you are and then get on with life. Your business may not be where it needs to be. No problem. Accept it and move on. God was telling Joshua, “Enough mourning, MOSES IS DEAD!” Stand up and move on.
2. Move Out. You can’t advance in life if you are not moving forward. I enjoy reading about General George Patton, a man’s man. His words to his soldiers were, “Don’t die in a foxhole; foxholes are for cowards.”
So often in life we are hit with a major challenge, like Joshua. And for many, we just lay around talking about the problem and pulling others into our circle to share our problems. Move out of the circle. Step up and lead!
3. Move Toward Gratefulness.
Fear kills more people than death. This is why God told Joshua, “Do Not Fear!” I have found over the years that fear is grounded in negativity. If you choose to live in the world of negativity, you will always be in fear.
A great book to read is Fearless by Max Lucado. I, like you, have a battle with this, but over the years I have come to the understanding that I “must not worry, but be thankful in all things” (Philippians 4:6). Gratefulness seems to take away my fear. If you find yourself in the position of fear, begin to focus on what you are thankful for and you will see fear fade away.
4. Move In Strength and Courage. Joshua was also told, “Be Strong and Courageous.” He was charged with this not once or twice but FOUR times during this short writing.
Being strong is who you are, your values, your character. It is critical that each person has his or her own set of values, statements that will keep you on a solid track both as an individual and for your company. My company’s values are:
The above values fit in both my personal and professional life. The individuals on my team must fit into these values if they are to represent our company.
Being courageous is what you do. It is how you live your values, how you speak, how you share with others, how you respond to challenges. If you are a leader, people are watching you, and your actions speak so much louder than your words. I tell young people who wish to become professional speakers that “people remember your touch much longer than your talk.” Listen to people, look at them in the eye, and care where they are.
By following these simple leadership lessons, I believe you will add success and prosperity to your personal and professional life.